Monday, July 7, 2008

Secret Asian Man

Secret Asian man, secret Asian man, they've given you a number and taken waaaay your name!

Come on people, sing it with me! Secret Asian man! What? Oh, it's not 'Asian man'? Oooh, agent man. That makes so much more sense.

I have known for many years now that it is AGENT man, but somehow the whole Asian man thing still sings in my head when I happen to hear this song. What I did not know, is that there is a word for this little problem.

Oh yes! There is! Mondegreen is a word that has been around for a long time, but it is only this year joining the ranks of the proud Merriam-Webster dictionary. They released their list of new words and this has to be my total favorite.


From the Merriam-Webster site: mondegreen ("a word or phrase that results from a mishearing of something said or sung") has delighted wordplay aficionados for years. Mondegreen was first coined by author Sylvia Wright in 1954 in Atlantic magazine, when she confessed to a childhood misinterpretation of the Scottish ballad "The Bonny Earl of Moray." When she first heard the lyric "they had slain the Earl of Moray and had laid him on the green," she felt terribly sorry for the "poor Lady Mondegreen."

Got that? A mondegreen is when you mishear a lyric (or other). This has happened to everyone, and we've all be chagrined when our friends look at us with horror as we belt out, "Hold me closer, Tony Danzaaaa" and then the mocking begins.

It has happened to you, I know it!

The best part is that Merriam-Webster is asking people to submit their mondegreens. So go on, do it. Confess your mondegreen sins, but don't submit Secret Asian Man, I already got that one covered.

Also, go check out Jon Carroll's hillarious columns on the subject of mondegreens.

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